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2015 Paschal Greetings from Bishop Thomas

His Grace Bishop Thomas writes:

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA 2015

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

There is nothing after Christ and nothing other than Christ. If you are not an extension of Him or an expression of Him, then you are nothing. At Pascha, I become Him or I am nothing. If I have loved Him, then I grow through Him and I grow in Him. I do not want anything in His place because He is everything. All the saints are in Him and unto Him, and if you look at their faces, do not look for them. Search for the face of Jesus traced upon them. How should I conduct myself at Pascha? My only affair with my soul is to bring it to the Lord. With Him it comes into existence. The Father is the beginning and the end and in Him the Christ of history pours forth. I am nothing if I do not become a person of Pascha, one who looks to the Father, the end point.
– Metropolitan Georges (Khodr) of Mount Lebanon, "Who Shall I Be at Pascha?"

As we celebrate Holy Pascha, we also each ask, "Who shall I be at Pascha?" This feast defines who we are, not just as a climax or triumph of the liturgical year, but as the very core of our lives and, indeed, not just the core, but the whole of our lives. Our task as Christians is to become an "extension" or "expression" of Christ, to become so like Him in communion with Him that the face of Jesus is also traced upon us.

We become ourselves at Pascha. We gain our true selves in the Resurrection of Jesus, that death-conquering act which shook the universe and spelled the end of the power of hell and the devil, freeing us from their domination which distorts us as persons. As the Holy Scripture tells us, "Since, therefore, the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage" (Heb. 2:14-15).

Yours in the Risen Christ,

Rt. Rev. Bishop Thomas (Joseph)
Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic

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